Bottega Restaurant Napa Valley is run by star chef Michael Chiarello. Chef Chiarello is acclaimed chef, Emmy-winning host of Food Network’s Easy Entertaining, tastemaker behind NapaStyle, originally starred at Tra Vigne, and proprietor of Chiarello Vineyards, as well as a Napa Valley resident. The focus is on “micro-regional Italian cuisine, selecting the best dishes from across Italy and anchoring them with artisanal, heritage, or house-made ingredients.” This restaurant is located in the V marketplace complex in Yountville, directly across from his Napa Style store. Bottega as a 4.5 Star rating on Yelp.
Decor, Vibe – Bottega restaurant has an open lounge area by the front door, and a large outdoor patio around the corner. The awning is orange colored and casts an orange tint on the outside dining areas, not good for photos! The interior has a dark main dining room with open kitchen in the back, and some brighter rooms to the side. Lots of exposed brick and steel foundation showing. Bottega was packed with tourists and fellow foodies from the Bay Area.
Bottega Restaurant Menu
Signature dishes – Polenta under glass, short rib of beef, ricotta gnocchi, molten chocolate cake.
Their menu has lots of Antipasti selections, as well as Pasta and Secondi variety. Vegetarians will have to concentrate on pasta. Couple of specials each day.
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Nice warm bread and Parmesan garlic dip, but the table cloth is used as a messy bread plate.
Wood Grilled Octopus olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, salsa verde ($14) had large chunks of fresh, snappy, perfectly cooked octopus along with some lightly dressed greens.
Polenta Under Glass, caramelized wild mushrooms, balsamic game sauce ($12) is a signature dish that is simply awesome. The polenta is very smooth and topped off with a nice cheese crisp and some morel mushrooms. A warm sauce consisting of reduced vinegar, veal stock, and rabbit stock adds the sweet/savory touch to the polenta.
Green eggs and ham ($15) olive oil poached Delta asparagus, crispy soft boiled egg, pecorino cheese pudding and prosciutto bits is a fun dish that looks great and tastes just as well. The egg is perfectly cooked and encrusted, and when combined with the bits of bacon, the combination makes for a great brunch dish. The asparagus tasted great, but added only color to the dish.
Ricotta Gnocchi, salsa di pomodoro della Nonna, pecorino ($15) is a tour de force dish. Homemade egg-based gnocchi look like marshmallow butter balls filled with rich cheese. We haven’t had a version this good in a while.
Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs preserved lemon spinach, smokey jus ($25) is another signature dish with tender meat just falling off the bone. Bold praised beef flavors and a strongly contrasting spinach infused with zesty lemon. Some starch would’ve been nice, but that’s what side orders are for right?
Dessert special – Warm Hazelnut chocolate cake with molten center ($11) topped with caramel corn was simply amazing and a must get dish, if available. This dish takes 20 minutes to prepare, so you are asked if you would like to order it when your entrée’s arrive. The sauce helps balance out the chocolate and is poured tableside along this with the caramel popcorn. The warm center is more of a pudding and does not flood out like many versions of this dessert. Bottega even fans the chocolate aroma to accentuate your experience. Definitely save room because the calories are worth it. If you can’t get a reservation, sit in the bar have a glass of wine and this dessert.
Service – Bottega had decent service with a friendly and very knowledgeable server. There was a long delay in getting us going though. No problems with enfolding, water refilling, etc.
Value – Prices were slightly below what we expected and lower than many Italian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Alternatives – Yountville is home to some of the best food around. Nearby restaurants include some of the best restaurants around. We’ve reviewed: The French laundry, etoile, Redd, Auberge du Soleil, Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bottega.
Verdict – Bottega exceeded our expectations with excellent Italian food at reasonable prices. Yountville adds another excellent restaurant to its legendary list. We have no problems recommending this restaurant and frankly find its food better than most Italian restaurants in San Francisco. We have read some mixed reviews and think the strategy of sticking to signature dishes is the best bet.
Extensive wine list with glasses of wine from $7, quartinos from $10, bottles from $26, and their own house brand Chiarello Family Vineyards.